Romans 5:4-5 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

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Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Romans Overview Chart - Charles Swindoll

Source: Dr David Cooper
Click to Enlarge
Romans 1:18-3:20 Romans 3:21-5:21 Romans 6:1-8:39 Romans 9:1-11:36 Romans 12:1-16:27
God's Holiness
God's Grace
God's Power
God's Sovereignty
Jew and Gentile
Gods Glory
Object of
of Sin
of Grace
Demonstration of Salvation
Power Given Promises Fulfilled Paths Pursued
Restored to Israel
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
Slaves to Sin Slaves to God Slaves Serving God
Doctrine Duty
Life by Faith Service by Faith

Modified from Irving L. Jensen's chart above

Romans 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: e de hupomone dokimen, e de dokime elpida;

Amplified: And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: and fortitude produces character; and character produces hope (Westminster Press)

Newell: and endurance a sense of approvedness by God; and the sense of approvedness works out a state 'of hope-

Phillips: Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature (Phillips: Touchstone)

NLT: And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Wuest: and this endurance, approvedness, and this approvedness, hope.

Young's Literal: and the endurance, experience; and the experience, hope; 

AND PERSEVERANCE: e de hupomone:

  • Ro 15:4; 2Cor 1:4, 5, 6; 4:8-12; 6:9,10; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 1:6,7; 5:10
  • Romans 5 Resources - Multiples Sermons and Commentaries

Perseverance (5281) (hupomone [Word Study] from hupo = under + meno = abide and is used 6x in Romans-Ro 2:7, 5:3-4, 8:25, 15:4-5) means literally to abide under and so describes a bearing up under trials in a God-honoring way so as to learn the lesson for which they have been sent, rather than attempting to squirm out from under them in an effort to be relieved of their pressure. Hupomone is the strength to bear up under plus the persistent application of this strength and is ultimately not a grin and bear it attitude/action but a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

Harry Ironside explains that "tribulation worketh patience" if we accept it as from our loving Lord Himself, knowing it is for our blessing. Out of patient endurance springs fragrant Christian experience, as the soul learns how wonderfully Christ can sustain in every circumstance. And experience blossoms into hope, weaning the heart from the things of earth and occupying them with the heavenly scene to which we are hastening. (Romans Commentary)

John Calvin writes that perseverance "is not the natural effect of tribulation; for we see that a great portion of mankind are thereby instigated to murmur against God, and even to curse His name. But when that inward meekness, which is infused by the Spirit of God, and the consolation, which is conveyed by the same Spirit, succeed in the place of our stubbornness, then tribulations become the means of generating patience; yea, those (same) tribulations, which in the obstinate can produce nothing but indignation and clamorous discontent." (Romans 5)

Matthew Henry writes that perseverance "works an experience of God, and the songs He gives in the night; the patient sufferers have the greatest experience of the divine consolations, which abound as afflictions abound. It works an experience of ourselves. It is by tribulation that we make an experiment of our own sincerity, and therefore such tribulations are called trials. It works, dokimen—an approbation (an approving), as he is approved that has passed the test. Thus Job’s tribulation wrought patience, and that patience produced an approbation, that still he holds fast his integrity [Job 2:3]."

Quotes On Perseverance

  • If you fall, don’t give up, get up. Anon.
  • The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will and the other from a strong won’t. Henry Ward Beecher
  • Endurance and perseverance are qualities we would all like to possess, but we are loath to go through the process that produces them. Jerry Bridges
  • Endurance is the ability to stand up under adversity; perseverance is the ability to progress in spite of it. Jerry Bridges
  • True grace always produces vigilance rather than complacency; it always produces perseverance rather than indolence. Jerry Bridges
  • All our progress and perseverance are from God. John Calvin
  • We persevere through faith and never apart from it. Sinclair Ferguson
  • He who gives over never truly begins. William Jenkyn
  • The root of all steadfastness is in consecration to God. Alexander MacLauren
  • The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success. Donald Sarnoff
  • By perseverance the snail reached the ark. C. H. Spurgeon
  • Perseverance is the hallmark of a genuine interest in Christ. Geoffrey B. Wilson

PROVEN CHARACTER: e de hupomone dokimen:

  • Josh 10:24,25; 1Sa 17:34, 35, 36, 37; Ps 27:2,3; 42:4,5; 71:14,18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; 2Cor 4:8, 9, 10; 2Ti 4:16, 17, 18
  • Romans 5 Resources - Multiples Sermons and Commentaries

Proven character (1382) (dokime) (Click for in depth study of the related verb dokimazo) can describe a trial, test or ordeal (2Co 8:2). More commonly in the NT it describes the quality of having stood the test.

BDAG says that "enduring something amounts to a test that promotes and validates the character of the one undergoing it."

Dokime in secular Greek was used to describe metals that had been tested and been determined to be pure. The idea of dokime is that when you put the metal through a fiery test and if it comes out on the other side "persevering and enduring", you call the metal proven, authentic or genuine. That is the sense of dokime in Romans 5:3,4. When you go through tribulation, and your faith is tested, and if you persevere, what you get is a wonderful sense of authenticity. You have "proof" that your faith is real for it has been tested and has stood the test.

Vine - Dokime, when used in an active sense, denotes “a proving,” “a trial” (as in 2 Cor. 8:2); but here (Ro 5:4) it has its other meaning, of approval, as a result of proving (see also 2Cor 2:9; 9:13; Php 2:22), the condition of one who is conscious of having endured tribulations effectually, the spiritual state that results being in accordance with God’s designs. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Barclay - Dokime is used of metal which has been passed through the fire so that everything base has been purged out of it. It is used of coinage as we use the word sterling. When affliction is met with fortitude, out of the battle a man emerges stronger, and purer, and better, and nearer God.

Richards - The word group from which dokime comes draws our attention to testing as a means of determining genuineness and thus as a grounds for giving approval. Dokime is the quality of being approved and thus of having a demonstrated character… Words in this family (dokimazo, dokime, dokimos, or adokimos) emphasize that the test is designed to display the genuineness of that which is tried.

Dokime refers to a person who has successfully sustained the fiery test (eg, Timothy - Php 2:22-note). He has learned that by God's grace he can endure. He can say from experience "I have trusted God in the middle of the trouble and found that God is faithful!"

In short, afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he or she really is "made of". And so in the present context dokime refers to tried integrity or a state of mind which has stood the test.

The related verb dokimazo means “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person tested meets the specifications, to put one’s approval upon him.” This approved character produces in turn and increasing degree of hope, of absolute certainty that the Lord will do good to us in the future! (see index below to in depth study of this "blessed hope")

Dokime - 7x in 6v - NAS = ordeal(1), proof(2), proven character(2), proven worth(1), test(1).

Romans 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;

2Corinthians 2:9 For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

2Corinthians 8:2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

2Corinthians 9:13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,

2Corinthians 13:3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.

Philippians 2:22-note But you know of his [Timothy's] proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

Amy Carmichael in Candles in the Dark -- The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding (at all) (Ed: As I disciple men and women, I refer to these as "Pop Tests", for most people have experienced these in school. The sovereign God allows and/or sends "Pop tests" perfectly calculated by Him to "test" our character. Will we yield and submit to the Spirit ["Act" based on truth] or will we "react" from our natural inclinations, our old flesh nature?) Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.

Wayne Barber explains proven character noting that…

The verb (katergazomai [word study]) is still implied (and can be paraphrased0 "brings out, works out" proven character. Suffering is a part of every believer’s life, just like it’s a part of anybody else in this world, except that we have persecution thrown in. The difference is we have the ability to endure. When we are able to bear up under in the power God gives us to bear up under, that proves something, not only to us but also to the world of what we really are. It proves the fact that we’ve been justified by our faith. I’ve always said, "Put a Christian under pressure, and you’ll find out what they’re made of." Pressure is God’s classroom. The whole world suffers, but to us it becomes a classroom. The term "proven character" is really the word dokime. It means to prove something, approve something. It’s the word Paul used in Philippians 2:22 when Paul spoke about Timothy. He said, "But you know of his proven worth that he served me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father." He’s been proven. It’s the same word. It’s also used in James 1:12-note; when James says, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." It’s a proving of something. When you depend upon the Lord you find something out about yourself, but you also find out something about Him that you could have known in no other way.

Peter says in 1Peter 1:6 (note), "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof [same word] of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." We need to understand how important suffering is to us so we don’t start shaking our fist in God’s face the next time something difficult happens in our life. It’s like a refiner’s fire.

Do you know what a refiner’s fire was? When a silversmith melted silver he would put it into a pot and heat that pot and heat that pot. It would get hotter and hotter and hotter, and finally the dross that’s in that silver would come to the surface. He would take a ladle and throw it off. When the silversmith could look into the pot and see himself, then he would cool the fire. Somebody said, "Having gone through the fire, it has become silver." I disagree. It was silver before it ever went in the fire, but it was the fire that burned off all the things that had been hiding what it really was.

When Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego went through the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel, the only things that burned on them were the things that bound them. It didn’t singe a hair on their heads. They didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them.

When we go through these things it proves what we are. How many Christians are fighting against the very thing God is trying to use to prove Himself, who you are and what He has given you in the Holy Spirit of God? This is a tremendous truth of this brand new relationship that we have with God. It is no wonder James could say, "Count it all joy, brethren, when you encounter various trials." If you read that without knowing Romans, you would think he had lost his mind. Who wants to thank God for trials? This is why Paul said in 1Th 5:18 (note), "in everything give thanks."

He also wrote in Ep 5:20 (note), "always giving thanks for all things." It’s not only IN it but FOR it, because he knows something. Whatever goes on in your life or in my life, God is using it as a refiner’s fire to prove what we are, to prove to us who He is, and to show us how much He loves us.

Suffering (affliction) is the classroom the believer goes through. Everyone in the world suffers, but Ro 8:17 (note) says we suffer with Christ. That’s the difference. We are not suffering alone. I’ve been justified by faith; therefore, He lives in me (Col 1:27, Gal 2:20). He goes through it with me (cp Heb 2:18). That’s the difference between a person in the world and a person who knows Jesus Christ.

If we could see suffering from God’s point of view, we would stand up and rejoice in our suffering. We would begin to understand that we talk about things we have, but we don’t have a clue what that means in our life. Why? Because we fight Him through the valleys. We say, "God, why did You do this?" God’s looking back at you and saying, "Wait a minute. Don’t you eternally stand in My favor? It is for your good that I am doing this. I’m using it to shape you into the image of My Son, Jesus Christ. That’s the most incredible message in Romans 5 for the believer that you can find.

The world would stand up and defy everything I am saying. "Ah! God must be a cruel god to make us live like we live." God is the greatest god you can ever be around. The problem is they are looking at it from their perspective, not from His. So, it proves us; it proves Him to us, us to ourselves and gives us a witness to people who are all around us. Suffering, persecution, you name it. All of that has to do with God’s loving us in this life. If you didn’t go through it, you would have nothing to say on the other end of it.

Barnes explains this process writing that dokime refers to "that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine. It also means approbation, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process. The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his religion, and prove that it is genuine. Afflictions are often sent for this purpose, and patience in the midst of them shows that the religion which can sustain them is from God… (Afflictions) show that religion is genuine; that it is from God; and not only so, but they direct the mind onward to another world (exult in the hope), and sustain the soul by the prospect of a glorious immortality there." (Romans 5)

James writes a similar motivating truth "Blessed is a man who perseveres (hupomone - present tense = continually, habitually) under trial (peirasmos); for once he has been approved (dokimos), he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12-note)

In a parallel truth, Peter encourages his suffering readers "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if (since it is) necessary (to prepare us for glory), you have been distressed by various ("sized and shaped" - same word in 1Pe 4:10 describes "manifold grace" - right size and shape of grace for every trial!) trials (peirasmos), that the proof (dokimon) of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:6, 7-see notes 1Pe 1:6; 1:7).

In short, Christians can boast and rejoice in tribulations (Acts 5:41, cf Acts 14:22) fully confident of what those tribulations are guaranteed to produce. This truth is another facet of the diamond called the Good News or the Gospel. Let us stand firm therefore and gird our minds for action (1Pe 1:13-note), disciplining ourselves for godliness (1Ti 4:7-note), for such discipline is profitable not only for the present age but for that to come! (1Ti 4:8-note)

And so for a believer, trials work FOR and NOT AGAINST us. No amount of suffering can separate us from the Lord, for as Paul asks "Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Ro 8:35-note)

In point of truth, trials actually bring us closer to our Lord and make us more like Him. Suffering builds Christ-like character, a character that has been tested and received God's seal of approval! When you put metal through a fiery testing and it comes out on the other side persevering and enduring, what you call that metal is "proven" or "authentic" or "genuine" and that is the idea of this section. When you go through tribulation, and your faith is tested, and it bears up under the load of the difficult circumstance and results in the finished product, a wonderful sense of authenticity. You know beyond doubt that your faith is genuine for it has been tested and has stood the test with perseverance. Your faith is therefore real, authentic, proven, genuine.

Cranfield adds that "the quality of provedness which is possessed by faith when it has stood up to testing, like the precious metal which is left when the base metals have been refined away”

The idea is that sufferings are like a test which, when endured by the strength which God supplies (the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit), results in a quality of life and character that has been tempered and purified and demonstrated to be pleasing to God.

Paul is probably drawing on a well established theme of Jewish wisdom—the idea of testing, particularly that of proving gold by testing it with fire.

In Proverbs 17:3 Solomon writes that…

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests hearts."

The Septuagint (Greek of the Hebrew) reads "As silver and gold are continuously tried (dokimazo) in a furnace, so are choice hearts with the Lord."

Ray Stedman - We have all seen the tire advertisements on television. A car is equipped with four tires and is put through horrendous tests -- driven through desert sands, bogs, swamps, and marshes, driven over rough, hard, cobblestone roads, over roads with holes and chuck-holes, over boards studded with nails. The tire is twisted and pulled and stretched in every direction, and you are amazed at what that tire can take! After the test is over, they hold the tire up and it looks like it's never been out of its wrapping! Then the ad comes: "Buy Sock'em Tires! They're tested, proven!" Now that is what this word character means. God is building you up so he can hold you up and say, "He's approved, he's tested." God is in the process of making veterans. I have always liked that word. A veteran has been through something and has been tested and proven. (Read full text of Rejoicing in Suffering)

AND PROVEN CHARACTER, HOPE: e de dokime elpida:

That hope does not put the believer to shame (NAS = "disappoint" in Ro 5:5) suggests that, on the contrary, being freed from illusion and despair, he is able to go boldly on his course through this life, knowing that he will not be disappointed.

How does "proven character" bring about hope? John Piper says "Isn't the answer that when your faith has been tried in affliction, and persevered, and thus proven genuine and authentic you know you are real and not a fake Christian and that undergirds you hope (certainty) that you really are a child of God and will inherit God's glory. In other words, one of the great obstacles to a full and strong hope in the glory of God is the fear that we are hypocrites - that our faith is not real and that we just inherited it from our parents and have been motivated by things that are not honoring to God. One of the purposes of suffering and affliction is to give us victory over those fears and make us full of stable hope and confidence as the children of God." (We Exult in Our Tribulations)

Hendriksen - It is immediately clear that consciousness, on their part, of the fact that they have sustained the test, so that God’s approval rests on them, will strengthen their hope. (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book)

Morris adds that "the Christian who has been tested has proved God’s faithfulness and will surely hope the more confidently." (Morris, L. The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)

Cranfield - To have one's faith proved by God in the fires of tribulation and sustained by Him so as to stand the test is to have one's hope in Him and in the fulfilment of His promises, one's hope of His glory (Ro 5:2), strengthened and confirmed.

MacArthur - The more a believer pursues holiness, the more he is persecuted and troubled and the greater will be his hope as he is sustained through it all by God’s powerful grace. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)

Denney - The experience of what God can do, or rather of what He does, for the justified amid the tribulations of this life, animates into new vigor the hope with which the life of faith begins.

Related Resources:

Ray Stedman- "Suffering produces character. Character (gradually growing into true manhood and womanhood) makes us hope, for we see that the job is being done, and we know that God is at work and that we need not stand at last ashamed and disappointed before Jesus Christ when he comes. All this, Paul says, is because God loves us -- so, when suffering comes, it is not a mark of God's anger; it is a mark of his love. That is what Hebrews 12:5ff says, doesn't it? Every son whom God receives, he chastens because he loves him -- not because he hates him -- but because he loves him {cf, Heb12:6}. Therefore, there is no necessity to cry out, and say, "Oh, what have I done? What have I done, that God should treat me like this?" We think that God is interested in getting a certain amount of work done in this world, and we think that the work is the important thing to God, but it is not so. God doesn't need us to do the work that he wants done in the world. He can do that with a rock, or a stone, or a child, or a tree -- it makes no difference. Did not Jesus say, when the Pharisees rebuked the crowds for praising him as he rode into the city of Jerusalem on the triumphal entry -- did not he say to them, "Look, if these should hold their peace, the very stones would cry out," {cf, Lk19:40}. That is, God can use anything to do his work. This isn't what he is interested in. He is interested in our lives -- it is what the work does to us, it is what life is doing to us. It is our character that God is after, and this is why (in love) he introduces suffering, tribulation, trials, disappointments, and anguish into our lives. These are an indispensable part of the process. Oh, I wish we could see that! These things come because he loves us, and because he has given the Holy Spirit to us to do this very work in our lives.

Let me share with you a brief word from Amy Carmichael; some of you know of her great work out in India. She was a woman who suffered greatly through her life, but accomplished tremendous things for God in southern India. She writes this under the title, The Shadowed Way:

He said, "I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places --
They shall be filled again.
O voices mourning deep within me, cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, "I will crowd action upon action,
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain;
Oh, tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavor lieth peace.

He said, "I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life's riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou doest befool me, thou shalt cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, "I will submit; I am defeated,
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
Oh futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?"
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, "I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow
Will to his son explain."
Then did the turmoil deep with him cease.
Not vain the word, not vain,
For in acceptance lieth peace.

Do you know what that means? It means that the mark of a Christian who has grown to maturity, the mark of a spiritual Christian, is that he accepts everything that happens to him, without exception, as coming from the hand of the Lord into his life, and rejoices in what it is doing to him. (1Th 5:18-note).

So, if you are a Christian, NO CIRCUMSTANCE OF YOUR LIFE happens to you EXCEPT that it comes BY THE CHOICE OF GOD. Now, it is true that HE may use Satan, and Satan does attack us, but NEVER without the permission of Christ. Once Peter came to the Lord, trying, in his blindness, to defend Christ, and Christ said to him, ""Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" {cf, Lk 22:31,32}. This is what God brings us to. This is the mark of the spiritual Christian. "Well," you say, "I know that I can't do it. I have tried this. I can endure, but I can't rejoice. And, I get awfully upset by these pious Christians who go around with a smile screwed on their faces and pretend like they are enjoying suffering." I don't blame you! I get upset at this too. But this isn't any pretense. When Paul speaks about rejoicing in suffering, he is speaking about GENUINELY REJOICING IN SUFFERING. You see, the problem is that perhaps you don't see, yet, what is behind this -- what will make it possible -- and this is what we need to see. This answer is briefly stated for us in these next verses as the two sources of our hope [Ro 5:6-11]:

In Ro 5:2, Paul spoke of "rejoicing in hope," the hope of sharing the glory of God, a hope for the future beyond death. But here is hope that we will share the glory of God, which is God's character, right now. We have the hope that God is producing the image of Christ in us right now. That's a great thing! And this hope is a certainty, not just a possibility. We are being changed. We see ourselves changing. We are becoming more like Jesus. We can see that we are more thoughtful, more compassionate, more loving. We are being mellowed. We are becoming like Christ -- stronger, wiser, purer, more patient. To our amazement, a certainty grows in our hearts that God is doing his work just as he promised. He is transforming us into the image of his Son. (Click Faith Faces Life for complete sermon)


Hope is faith in the future tense. Peter Anderson

Hope for the best; get ready for the worst; then take what God chooses to send.

It has been said that man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air—but only one second without HOPE. ANONYMOUS

Someone said, "Don't despair if you have spells of despondency. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it rises again all right the next morning."

(The antithesis of hope) - Someone said, "Sure, I live in the past. It's about the only thing I have to look forward to!"

Looking back on past blessings can restore our hope and give us reason to look ahead. 

"Christ in you, the hope of glory"—Col. 1:27 The late Isaac Pitt was suffering from what appeared to be an attack of rheumatic gout, from which no serious danger was apprehended. His friends were startled by the announcement of the physician, "There is no hope:." Another medical man was called for consultation. "Doctor," said the sick man, "I wish to know the very truth; do not conceal anything. Do you think I shall recover? '" We will do all we can, but we fear there is no hope of recovery." "Thank you, "he rejoined," I should like you to do all you can; but if not successful, I have a hope. A ransom has been provided, a Saviour has been sent: I accept the ransom, I believe in the Saviour. "When the doctor says there is no hope for the body, this hope of glory is an anchor for the soul.

There is a natural hope and a spiritual hope. Of that natural hope, Benjamin Franklin said, "He that lives upon hope will die fasting." Of that natural hope, Omar Khayyam said, "It is like snow in the desert." An anonymous writer said that "hope is a quivering, nervous creature trying to be bright and cheerful but, alas, frequently sick abed with nervous prostration and heart failure." Of that biblical hope, Hebrews 6:19 says it is "an anchor for the soul."

A group of Scots once bound themselves together because of both their faith and their patriotism. They were called the Covenanters. All Christians are covenanters too. Our hope rests on God having made a covenant with us.

Hope not only bears up the mind under sufferings but makes her rejoice in them.  JOSEPH ADDISON

Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it. Rubem Alves

Christ is our hope of glory and the glory of our hope. Anon.

Hope is grief’s best music. Anon.

It is not the way we deal with our human situation that is the basis for hope—hope is the basis for how we deal with our human situation. Arden K. Barden

Our hope lies not in the man we put on the moon, but in the man we put on the cross. Don Basham

‘Hope’ is biblical shorthand for unconditional certainty. John Blanchard

The Christian’s hope of glory is not the fact that Christ is in him, but the Christ who is in him as a fact. John Blanchard

Bless God that there is in us resurrection life, and that there awaits us a resurrection morn! J. J. Bonar

There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them. Clare Booth 

A man full of hope will be full of action. Thomas Brooks

Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds. Thomas Brooks

We are refugees from the sinking ship of this present world order, so soon to disappear; our hope is fixed in the eternal order, where the promises of God are made good to his people in perpetuity. F. F. Bruce

Hope is never ill when faith is well. John Bunyan

Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called “patience of hope,” because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and long-suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown. John Bunyan

Hope is the foundation of patience. John Calvin

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith. John Calvin

When hope animates us there is a vigour in the whole body. John Calvin

Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless. G. K. Chesterton

As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is a mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength. Like all the Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable. G. K. Chesterton

Hope is a vigorous principle; it sets the head and heart to work and animates a man to do his utmost.  JEREMY COLLIER 

When you stop hoping you are on the vestibule of hell, for there is no hope there. A. J. Cronin

"Totally without hope one cannot live." To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante's hell is the inscription: "Leave behind all hope, you who enter here." FEODOR DOSTOEVSKI

Hope is the only tie which keeps the heart from breaking. Thomas Fuller

If it were not for hopes, the heart would break. Thomas Fuller

The world is full of experiments for bringing deliverance to the race, but on the authority of the New Testament and in the light of nineteen centuries of history, I declare my conviction that the only hope of this world is the return of Christ to reign over the earth and to establish universal peace. A. J. GORDON

Where there is no hope, there is no faith. William Gouge

Perhaps the greatest psychological, spiritual, and medical need that all people have is the need for hope. Billy Graham

For the believer there is hope beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection.  Billy Graham

Christ wants to give you hope for the future. He wants you to learn what it means to walk with Him every day. When you come to Christ, God gives you eternal life—which begins right now as you open your heart to Him.  Billy Graham

Faith points us beyond our problems to the hope we have in Christ.  Billy Graham

Christ’s second coming reminds us that ultimately our hope is not in this world and its attempts to solve its problems, but in Christ’s promise to establish His perfect rule over all the earth.  Billy Graham

Man has no ability to repair this damaged planet. The flaw in human nature is too great. God is our only hope!  Billy Graham

Earth’s troubles fade in the light of heaven’s hope.  Billy Graham

My hope does not rest in the affairs of this world. It rests in Christ who is coming again.  Billy Graham

Only because Jesus is God and we have confessed Him as Savior and Lord, can He bestow and we receive these benefits, this blessed assurance and hope (see Romans 10:9).  Billy Graham

Our world today desperately hungers for hope, and yet uncounted people have almost given up. There is despair and hopelessness on every hand. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the hope that is in Jesus!  Billy Graham

Your word is my source of hope. —Ps 119:114 Billy Graham

Faith and a good conscience are hope’s two wings. William Gurnall

Hope is the saint’s covering wherein he wraps himself when he lays his body down to sleep in the grave. William Gurnall

The nearer to heaven in hopes, the farther from earth in desires. William Gurnall

The Christian’s hope is like a rainbow. It is essentially one, yet made up of the most glorious colours which, though they merge together to form an exquisite whole, may each be admired individually. Graham Heaps

He that was our help from our birth ought to be our hope from our youth. Matthew Henry

Our fear must save our hope from swelling into presumption, and our hope must save our fear from sinking into despair. Matthew Henry

The ground of our hope is Christ in the world, but the evidence of our hope is Christ in the heart. Matthew Henry

Hoping is disciplined waiting. Ernst Hoffmann

Like faith, New Testament hope carries unconditional certainty within itself. Ernst Hoffmann

There can be no hope without faith in Christ, for hope is rooted in him alone. Faith without hope would, by itself, be empty and futile. Ernst Hoffmann

Hope is the mother of patience. William Jenkyn

My future is as bright as the promises of God. Adoniram Judson

Hope teaches endurance and an eager anticipation of that which will become reality. Simon J. Kistemaker

True faith is never found alone; it is accompanied by expectation. C. S. Lewis

’Tis always morning somewhere. HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807–1882)

The Christian hope is the hope of a time when even the possibility of our sinning will be over. It is not the hope then of a return to the condition of Adam before the Fall but the hope of an entrance into a far higher condition. J. Gresham Machen

Apart from the bright hope of the gospel everything would be meaningless. Poul Madsen

What an excellent ground of hope and confidence we have when we reflect upon these three things in prayer—the Father’s love, the Son’s merit and the Spirit’s power! Thomas Manton

I am walking toward a bright light and the nearer I get the brighter it is. D. L. Moody

Edward Mote

My hope is built on nothing less 
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
His oath, His covenant, His blood 
Support me in the whelming flood; 
When all around my soul gives way, 
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand--
All other ground is sinking sand. 

Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.       ALEXANDER POPE

The future belongs to those who belong to God. This is hope. W. T. Purkiser

From Christ’s death flow all our hopes. J. C. Ryle

The nature of hope is to expect that which faith believes. Richard Sibbes

It is reported that in the Tamil language there is no word for hope. Alas! poor men, if we were all as destitute of the blessed comfort itself as these Tamul speakers are of the word! What must be the misery of souls in hell where they remember the word, but can never know hope itself! - C H Spurgeon

As God is the author of our salvation, so Christ is the embodiment of our hope. Geoffrey B. Wilson

Our risen and glorified Lord is himself our hope, because his triumph over sin and death provides the objective pledge of our final redemption.Geoffr ey B. Wilson

The Christian hope is not a matter for tickling our minds but for changing our lives and for influencing society. Stephen Travis

Dr. Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, observed that a prisoner did not continue to live very long after hope was lost. But even the slightest ray of hope—the rumor of better food; a whisper about an escape—helped some of the camp inmates to continue living even under systematic horror (Man's Search for Meaning). George Sweeting

The word hope in Scripture is a term of certainty. To say that we hope for the return of the Lord is not to say that we are uncertain about His coming. His coming for His own is certain. The Greek word translated "hope" in the New Testament is elpith, which means "to anticipate with confident expectation." Elpith is also translated "trust" in several New Testament verses. Hope is one of the three evidences of salvation—faith, hope, and love—referred to by the apostle Paul throughout the epistles (see 1 Corinthians 13:13; Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3). George Sweeting

Hope thinks nothing difficult; despair tells us that difficulty is unsurmountable.  ISAAC WATTS

The world hopes for the best, but Jesus Christ offers the best hope. John Wesley White

When the newly elected President of Lebanon, Rene Moawad, was assassinated by a bomb in November of 1989, Newsweek magazine entitled its news article "The Assassination of Hope." It was true, in a limited sense. Any hope for a peaceful resolution of the long and bloody conflict in Lebanon died with the dying president. Hope, in the larger sense, can never be killed. Alexander Pope said that it "springs eternal in the human breast." - Robert Shannon

Keep Hope Alive - A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving away from the Los Angeles airport, a huge, brilliantly illuminated billboard arrested my attention. It carried one simple message in three simple words: "Keep Hope Alive." I must tell you it was the most compelling billboard I've ever seen, because keeping hope alive is the number-one priority of the city of Los Angeles today. We're in trouble. We're broken. We're hurting. If hope dies, the city will die with it. But we all need to keep hope alive. Hope is to our spirits what oxygen is to our lungs. Your spirit dies when hope dies. They may not bury you for a while, but without hope you're dead.  —Lewis Smedes, "Keep Hope Alive,"

Never Give Up Hope - For the first decade of our marriage, my wife, Doris, and I hoped passionately for a child. I think we wanted a child more than we wanted anything else in the world. So we hoped and prayed for ten long years. And then finally, after ten years, Doris became pregnant. We thanked God and drank a toast to hope.

One night, about six months into the pregnancy, something went wrong, and I called the doctor. He told me Doris was going into labor and to get her into the car and take her to the emergency room right away.

"I'll meet you there," he said. "Oh, yes; I have one more thing to tell you; I should have told you before. Your baby is going to be seriously malformed."
"Malformed? Seriously? How serious?"

"Very serious. It's up to you now to tell Doris on the way to the hospital."

Well, I told her. But we decided that we were not going to give up hope. No matter what the doctor said, we were not going to give up hope. So we kept on hoping all through the night.

At six o'clock in the morning, the doctor came to me with a somewhat embarrassed grin from ear to ear. He said, "Congratulations! You have a perfect baby boy. Come and see." I went with him, and there he was, yelling his head off, looking just like me—a perfect man-child. Praise God! We thought.

It's true. Never give up hope. Never, ever give up hope.

But two days later our baby was dead. Hope can break your heart.  —Lewis Smedes, "Keep Hope Alive,"

Once on a time, certain strong labourers were sent forth by the great King to level a primeval forest, to plough it, to sow it, and to bring to him the harvest. They were stout-hearted and strong, and willing enough for labour, and much they needed all their strength and more. One stalwart labourer was named Industry—consecrated work was his. His brother Patience, with thews of steel, went with him, and tired not in the longest days under the heaviest labours. To help them they had Zeal, clothed with ardent and indomitable energy. Side by side there stood his kinsman Self-denial, and his friend Importunity. These went forth to their labour, and they took with them, to cheer their toils, their well-beloved sister Hope; and well it was they did, for they needed the music of her consolation ere the work was done, for the forest trees were huge, and demanded many sturdy blows of the axe ere they would fall prone upon the ground. One by one the giant forest kings were overthrown, but the labour was immense and incessant. At night when they went to their rest, the day's work always seemed so light, for as they crossed the threshold, Patience, wiping the sweat from his brow, would be encouraged, and Self-denial would be strengthened by hearing the sweet voice of Hope within singing, "God will bless us, God, even our own God, will bless us." They felled the lofty trees to the music of that strain; they cleared the acres one by one, they tore from their sockets the huge roots, they delved the soil, they sowed the corn, and waited for the harvest, often much discouraged, but still held to their work as by silver chains and golden fetters by the sweet sound of the voice which chanted so constantly, "God, even our own God, will bless us." They never could refrain from service, for Hope never could refrain from song. They were ashamed to be discouraged, they were shocked to be despairing, for still the voice rang clearly out at noon and eventide, "God will bless us, God, even our own God, will bless us." You know the parable, you recognise the voice: may you hear it in your souls to-day! - C H Spurgeon

THE DANGER OF "COUNTERFEIT HOPE" - "The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope," wrote journalist Norman Cousins, who himself survived a near-fatal illness and a massive heart attack. "That is why the patient's hopes are the physician's secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription." We endure because we hope, but "hope in hope" (like "faith in faith") is too often only a kind of self-hypnosis that keeps us from facing life honestly. While a patient may be better off with an optimistic attitude, it is dangerous for him to follow a false hope that may keep him from preparing for death. That kind of hope is hopelessWhen the end comes, the patient's outlook may be cheerful, but the outcome will be tragic. (Warren Wiersbe)

Behind the cloud the starlight lurks,
Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all his works
Has left his hope with all!

"In a recent study, scientists placed a rat in a tub of water. After about 45 minutes of treading water, the rat drowned. (No, the study didn't stop there.) Then the scientists placed another rat in the water. This time, as the poor rodent neared exhaustion after about 35 minutes, the scientists rescued it. The result: When that same rat was placed in the water again (after a little rest), it kicked and swam for hours. Why? It had the hope of being rescued, so it didn't give up as easily. Hope can do that. The promise of better times ahead can help us withstand the toughest of times, filling us with energy we didn't know we had. Christians in the first century knew about this--from experience! They had begun to suffer persecution under Nero. Some even lost their lives. But the church endured, because those early believers knew that heaven awaited them. So when Peter encouraged them to "set [their] hope fully on the grace to be given [them] when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1Peter 1:13), they took his advice to heart. As a person who has trusted in Christ, you have that same hope of Christ's return. Whatever you have to give up because of your faith-- friends, reputation, chances for advancement--you have hope of something better awaiting you. Are you beginning to feel like the rat in the experiment, desperately treading water? Set your hope on Christ's promises. His resurrection gives us the assurance that helps to keep us going, even when we've been in deep water for a long time."

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. —Hebrews 10:23

Although I try not to be shocked by the things I see these days, I was caught off-balance by the message on the woman’s T-shirt as she walked past me in the mall. The bold letters declared: “Hope Is For Suckers.” Certainly, being naïve or gullible can be foolish and dangerous. Disappointment and heartache can be the tragic offspring of unfounded optimism. But not allowing oneself to have hope is a sad and cynical way to view life.

Biblical hope is unique; it’s a confident trust in God and what He is doing in the world and in our lives. That’s something everyone needs! The writer to the Hebrews clearly stated the importance of hope when he wrote, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).

Having biblical hope is not foolish, because it has a strong foundation. We hold fast to the hope we have received in Christ because our God is faithful. He can be trusted with anything and everything we will ever face—both for today and forever. Our hope is grounded in the trustworthy character of the God who loves us with an everlasting love. So, the T-shirt had it wrong. Hope is not for suckers; it’s for you and for me! (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Hope that has its foundation in God will not crumble under the pressures of life.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).  

The English poet Alexander Pope said, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast, man never is but always to be blessed." As Christians, we know there is only one sure and abiding source of hope, and that is God. If hope originated in ourselves, we would be cast into the depths of despair because life's complex problems have a way of squeezing every last ounce of it from our hearts. But when we trust God, hope abounds by the power of the Holy Spirit. In his book Live With Your Emotions, Hazen G. Werner quotes part of a letter from a woman who had run out of hope. She wrote, "A vile and ugly sin had dogged my way for years. My soul had been eclipsed in darkness. I began to feel I would never be emancipated from its grasp. Then one evening in the midst of my despair, I felt the impulse to say, `Thank you, God, anyway,' and for a moment it was light. I said to myself, `That must be the way.' I began to thank Him still more, and the light continued and grew, and for a whole evening I was relieved of my burden." What that woman seemingly stumbled onto by accident, the psalmist knew from experience. The power of gratitude can lift the weight of the most pressing trial. Turning the gaze of his soul heavenward, he saw God as an inexhaustible source of hope. When we get discouraged, we can talk to ourselves as David did: "Why are you cast down, 0 my soul? . . . Hope in God" (Psalm 42:5). No matter how dark the path, thank God for Himself. It will open a window to heaven and let in a ray of hope. —D.J.D. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hope, like an anchor, is fixed on the unseen.

THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE    "Christ is risen from the dead, and has  become the firstfruits of those  who have fallen asleep."    -- 1 Corinthians 15:20  A little over a month before he died, the famous atheist Jean-Paul Sartre declared that he so strongly resisted feelings of despair that he would say to himself, "I know I shall die in hope." Then, in profound sadness, he would add, "But hope needs a foundation."  The patriarch Job had a foundation -- his faith in God.  When he was suffering and feeling that death would come soon, he experienced mixed feelings -- dread, despair, and hope.  There were times when it seemed as if God was his enemy.  Yet he kept believing that the Lord does right and loves His people.  In the end, hope triumphed over despair.  During the past 45 years, I have ministered to the spiritual needs of scores of dying people.  I've observed that many genuine believers experience the same mixture of feelings Job had.  They dread dying. Death is an unwelcome intruder to those who must face it in youth or during their prime years.  Yet even in these situations, those who live close to Christ receive grace to die in hope.  We who believe in Jesus base our hope on one of history's best documented events -- His resurrection.  Moreover, when we "trust and obey," our confidence in Him grows, and hope triumphs over dread and despair.    -- Herbert Vander Lugt    The Christian's hope is in the Lord,  He rests secure in his sure word;  And when he's tempted to despair,  He'll choose to trust God's love and care.    -- Dennis J. De Haan 

To live without God  means to die without hope.

Eugene Lang, a self-made millionaire, greatly changed the lives of fifty-nine students in East Harlem. Asked to speak to the sixth-grade class at a school with a high drop-out rate, he wondered what he could say to inspire these students to stay in school. He wondered how he could get them to even look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. "Stay in school," he admonished, "and I'll help pay college tuition for every one of you." For the first time, those children had hope. Said one student, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly ninety percent of that class went on to graduate from high school. People without hope are people without a future. But when hope is restored, so is life. Nowhere is this more true than with those who come to know Christ. He gives a sure basis for hope. He has promised to return to earth to receive His own (1 Thess. 1:10). Until then, we have help through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5). The believer anticipates a new kind of life that begins now and is fulfilled when Jesus returns. Knowing Christ gives us a hope that makes life worth living. —M.R.D.II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hope is the anchor of the soul, and the stimulus to action and achievement.

God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. 

People who live without hope can become suicidal. So it was with an Italian prisoner of war being held on a military base in the United States during World War II. He had become despondent after learning that his wife had died in Italy. The camp commander, knowing that the man had been a stonemason, asked him if he could design a chapel for the base. The POW accepted the assignment and even supervised its construction. Today a unique chapel stands at the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The formerly despondent prisoner found renewed hope by using his God-given talents to bless others. When you are in despair, the first step on the pathway to new hope is to take care of your physical needs. Then listen to God's voice through the Scriptures. The Lord will show you your spiritual condition and tell you what He would have you do to bless others.—D. J. D.


HOPE On December 17, 1927, a submarine sank off Provincetown, Massachusetts, and forty crewmen died. In the failed rescue attempt, one diver heard a trapped sailor tap out a pathetic question in Morse code: "Is there any hope?" The disciples must have been asking the same question at their last meal with Jesus. The One they loved the most was going away to a place where they could not immediately follow. Although packing His bags to leave, He promised to return for them. When they least expected it, He would walk up the front path, climb the porch steps, and knock boldly on the door. Jesus told His disciples to feed on that hope because He was the hope for years to come. This hope became a major theme of the New Testament. In essence, Paul pictured Christians skydiving in reverse, free falling upward through the clouds, reaching out their hands to His, and floating into eternity (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Peter proclaimed a sure hope because of Christ's resurrection (1 Peter 1:3) and challenged everyone to be ready to give a reason for that hope (3:15). Until Jesus returns we have a message for those sleepwalking on trails that lead to a hopeless end. We on the other road—the one of endless hope—must awaken them with our shouts of joy, "He is the Christ. He is coming again. He is our hope!"


  • There Is Hope 1 Kings 19:4 - No one is hopeless who knows the God of hope.
  • Waiting Philippians 3:20 - The greatest joy on earth is to have the sure hope of heaven.
  • What Keeps Us Going Philippians 1:21 - Those who are prepared to die are most prepared to live.
  • Responding With Hope Colossians 4:2-6 - Each day, we are to yield ourselves fully to Jesus, so that we may live wisely and respond graciously to others about the One who gives us the assurance of eternal life. A Christlike life can be a message of hope to a searching world.
  • Too Much With Us Ro 8:15 - No one is hopeless who knows the God of hope.
  • A Living Hope 1 Peter 1:3-9 - If you have a living hope in Christ, you can deal with your past because of your future. God's glorious best for you lies up ahead. Christians can cope with their past because of their hope in the future.
  • Treadmill Pr 4:18 - Life without Christ is a hopeless end; life with Christ is an endless hope.
  • Do You Have Hope? 1 Thes 1:9-10 - If Christ lives in your heart, you have a living hope.
  • Prepare To Live Ro 15:13 - No one is hopeless who hopes in God.
  • Reason To Hope Lam 3:25 - God "alone gives the refreshment of hope, and therefore we too can proclaim, "Great is Your faithfulness."
  • The Hope Of The Heart Romans 4:13-25 - Are you looking for hope? Then search the Scriptures diligently and claim the promises of God that apply to you. Promises truly are the hope of the heart, and God always keeps His word. The future always looks bright when viewed through the window of God's promises.
  • Source Of Hope Lam 3:25 - Feeling hopeless reminds us that we are helpless without God.
  • Seeing With Hope Ro 4:18 - Hope, like an anchor, is fixed on the unseen.
  • A Living Hope 1 Pet 1:3 - Christians can cope with their past because of their hope in the future.
  • Hopeful Derelicts Luke 7:48 - In Christ, the hopeless find hope.
  • The Brightest Hope Rev 7:17 - Hope in the God of all our tomorrows provides optimism for the future and gives strength for today… Even in the bleakest times, Christians have the brightest hope.
  • The Book Of Hope Psalm 119:97-104 - That Book, the Word of God, gives us real hope—a hope backed by all the authority, truth, and power of God. Many books can inform, but only the Bible can transform.
  • The King Could Mt 19:26 - When the broken pieces of life seem beyond hope of repair, don't give up. We have a King who can put people back together again
  • Do You Have Hope? 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 - If Christ lives in your heart, you have a living hope.
  • Finding New Hope Ps 42:5 - Don't give in to despair! Remind yourself of God's goodness and love. Talk to Him. He will meet your needs. He'll lead you in paths of love and light and joy where you will find new hope.
  • A City Of Smiles Rev 21:4 - Hope in the heart puts a smile on the face.
  • Hope In The Sad Times Lam 3:26 - It's remarkable! No matter what we might be suffering, we can be sure that God will never leave us hopeless.
  • Letdown Lk 2:19-20 - Feeling let down today? Try looking up.
  • Renewed Hope 1 Ki 19:4 - God gives hope to us as we give help to others.
  • Where to Look Heb 12:1-2 - Corrie ten Boom lived through the hellish life of Nazi concentration camps—a place where hope was lost for most people. She survived to tell her story of unfaltering faith and tight-fisted hope in God. Looking to Jesus, my spirit is blest, The world is in turmoil, in Him I have rest; The sea of my life around me may roar, When I look to Jesus, I hear it no more. —Anon.
  • The Need For Hope — (Booklet) Note that this is a booklet on the New Age Movement but in chapter 3 (page 15) there is a section entitled "The Need for Hope" - A brilliant psychiatrist and observer of human nature, Victor Frankl was a Jewish survivor of the German concentration camps. As a prisoner living for many months on the knife-edge between death and life, he witnessed time and again the essential human need for meaning. He noted that survival in the camps wasn't as dependent on physical strength as it was on the possession of a deeply felt reason to live. He observed that prisoners usually died if they lost hope and had no purpose for carrying on.
  • Does God Want Me Well? — (Booklet) Finding hope in pain or illness
  • AIDS: Finding Hope And Compassion — (Booklet) Our world is shrinking by the day. Global travel, a global economy, and advancing technology have drawn the world together more than ever before. But something else ties our world together—the AIDS crisis, which can no longer be viewed as “someone else’s problem.” This epidemic has grown to such a magnitude that it’s now everyone’s problem.
  • When Fear Seems Overwhelming: Finding Courage & Hope — (Booklet) Fear wears many faces—being worried about what others may think of you, or being anxious about getting accepted at the college you’ve dreamed of attending, or being nervous while performing at a music recital, or refusing to speak in front of a crowd. Fear is the knot in the pit of your stomach that makes you wish you could just disappear. In a world filled with danger and uncertainty, one thing is certain—we cannot escape fear. So how are we to respond when we feel afraid? Let’s take a look at what the Bible teaches about the source of our fears, why we fear, how fear helps or harms us, and how we can overcome debilitating fears that hinder healthy living.
  • No Disappointment The promise of heaven is not empty hype but eternal hope.
  • Such A Hope
  • Hope For The World
  • New Hope
  • A Ray Of Hope
  • A Reason For Hope
  • A Weeping World
  • Keep Talking About Jesus
  • A Good Day To Die?
  • Restoring The Years
  • A Good Will
  • Bad News?
  • Source Of Hope
  • Hope In God
  • A Living Hope
  • Losing A Friend
  • What Keeps Us Going?
  • Looking Ahead
  • He Lives!
  • On Eagles’ Wings
  • Out Of The Dust

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: e de elpis ou kataischunei, (3SPAI) hoti e agape tou theou ekkechutai (3SRPI) en tais kardiais hemon dia pneumatos hagiou tou dothentos (APPNSG) hemin

Amplified: Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: and hope does not prove an illusion, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given unto us. (Westminster Press)

NLT: And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And this hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts and still floods them through the agency of the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

Young's Literal: and the hope doth not make ashamed, because the love of God hath been poured forth in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that hath been given to us.

AND (biblical) HOPE DOES NOT (never, ever) DISAPPOINT (ashamed) : e de elpis ou kataischunei (3SPAI):

  • Job 27:8; Ps 22:4,5; Isa 28:15, 16, 17, 18; 45:16,17; 49:23; Jer 17:5, 6, 7, 8; Phil 1:20; 2Th 2:16; 2Ti 1:12; Heb 6:18,19
  • Romans 5 Resources - Multiples Sermons and Commentaries

Jeremiah writes "Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. (Why?) For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, nor cease from yielding fruit. (Jer 17:7-8)

Paul prayed on the basis of the assurance of this hope "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2Th 2:16,17)

John Piper writes that that Paul addresses two threats to the assurance of our salvation "One was that our faith might be fake, and the fire of tribulation is a gift to prove us and show us to ourselves that we are real. The other is that the object of our faith might be fake. What if we make it through tribulation with proven faith and growing hope, and in the end that hope proves to have been built on sand? We thought God loved us, but it turns out he didn't? That is what Paul addresses in verse 5. He says that God has provided a remedy for this kind of doubt and fretting. He calls it the pouring out of the love of God within our hearts. I take the phrase "love of God" in verse 5 ("the love of God has been poured out within our hearts") to refer mainly to God's love for us, not our love for God… Whatever else we say about this experience, let this be said: it is not decisively the work of man, but the work of God. It is supernatural. It is not finally in our power. It is not the product of mere circumstances. It is not owing to a good family of origin. It is owing to the Holy Spirit. You don't make it happen. The Holy Spirit makes it happen. It's his work. There is something deeply wrong when we have become so naturalistic and so psychologized that we think a person with a traumatic, abusive background cannot know the love of God experientially. We give the impression that knowing the love of God is really a matter of good upbringing. But when we take this so far that we obscure the main and glorious truth that knowing the love of God experientially is the sovereign, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, we have taken it too far. To balance things out, consider this: is it not also likely that many healthy, well-adjusted, productive adults from self-assured families mistake their own natural sense of well-being for the love of God, and are therefore worse off spiritually than the broken person who, beyond all expectation, has tasted the love of God by the power of the Holy Spirit? (Click Romans 5:3-8 for full sermon)

Hope (1680) (elpis) in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so", with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 27:20) Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is confident expectancy. Hope is the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment.

Does not (3756) (ou) expresses direct and full negation, independently and absolutely, and hence, objectively. This differs from me (3361) which implies a conditional and hypothetical neg., and is, thus, subjective.

There is a hope which will disappoint - it is an illusory, deceptive, empty hope of men who have grasped at the wind and believed words of straw instead of hoping in Christ. Solomon writes that…

When a wicked man dies, his expectation (Hebrew = tiqvah = hope) will perish, and the hope of strong men perishes (comes to nothing). (Proverbs 11:7)

Comment: Dear reader, the sad end of a deceptive professed hope begs the question - have you placed your faith and hope in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Living Lord Jesus Christ which is evidenced by a definite change [cf repentance] in your life?

Does not disappoint - does not bring us shame. Notice that the Greek word for not (ou) signifies absolute negation - it will never, ever disappoint! This is surely good news for the redeemed - let us say so!

The Septuagint translation has several OT passages speaking of those who hope or trust in God will be ashamed.

David wrote that "Indeed, none of those who wait ("hope" in NIV; Hebrew = qavah = to wait for and/or look for with eager expectation and confident hope) for Thee will be ashamed (Septuagint uses the root word - aischuno - be ashamed); Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. (Psalm 25:3)

Spurgeon writes "The prayer may be viewed as a promise; our Heavenly Father will never let his trustful children find him untrue or unkind. He will ever be mindful of his covenant."

In another Psalm (Messianic) David wrote "In Thee our fathers trusted; They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. To Thee they cried out, and were delivered; In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed (Septuagint = ashamed = kataischuno) (Psalm 22:4, 5).

Through Isaiah Jehovah issues the sure promise…

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it (Him - Messiah) will not be disturbed (Septuagint = ashamed = kataischuno). (Isaiah 28:16 - quoted in 1Pe 2:6-note)

"This hope does not prove illusory" (Sanday and Headlam)

Disappoint (2617) (Kataischuno from katá = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischúno = to shame) means primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace (1Cor 11:4, 5) and (as used in the present verse) to disappoint or to frustrate one's hope (Ro 9:33-note, Ro 10:11-note, 1Pe 2:6-note).

Vine writes that this hope "does not put the believer to shame (but)… on the contrary, being freed from illusion and despair, he is able to go boldly on his course through this life, knowing that he will not be disappointed. (Collected writings of W. E. Vine)

In a context like this the verb has the Hebrew usage where one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived. The KJV is not bad "and hope maketh not ashamed".

God's Word Translation paraphrases it as "We're not ashamed to have this confidence

Hope makes us confident. Hope, or certainty, produces confidence and boldness. We will NEVER be ashamed by this HOPE -- it is sure and steadfast.

This hope is based on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness and so dear believer…

we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (He 6:18, 19, 20-See notes He 6:18; 19; 20) (Note that when our hope is centered on Christ and His finished work on our behalf, it will not disappoint. Note also that this hope is moored to the throne of grace which is “within the veil,” where Jesus is seated at God’s right hand living and interceding forevermore for his people - Heb 7:25-note).

Solomon writes that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Pr 13:12).

But for a believer hope does not make the heart sick nor disappoint because God’s love is poured within our hearts.

Wiersbe reminds us that "Before we were saved, God proved His love by sending Christ to die for us. Now that we are His children, surely He will love us more. It is the inner experience of this love through the Spirit that sustains us as we go through tribulations. For many months I visited a young man in a hospital who had almost burned to death. I do not know how many operations and skin grafts he had during those months, or how many specialists visited him. But the thing that sustained him during those difficult months was not the explanations of the doctors but the promises they gave him that he would recover. That was his hope. And the thing that sustained his hope was the love of his family and many friends as they stood by him. The love of God was channeled through them to him. He did recover and today gives glory to God. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor).

MacDonald - If we were to hope for something but then later find that we were never going to get it, our hope would be put to shame or disappointed. But the hope of our salvation will never be put to shame. We will never be disappointed or find that we have rested on a false confidence. How can we be so sure? (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Bible Knowledge Commentary - The reality of God’s love in a believer’s heart gives the assurance, even the guarantee, that the believer’s hope in God and His promise of glory is not misplaced and will not fail. This ministry of the Holy Spirit is related to His presence in believers as the seal of God (Ep 4:30-note) and as the earnest or down payment of their inheritance in glory (2Cor. 1:21, 22; Ep 1:13, 14-notes). Later Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit Himself has been poured out in believers (Titus 3:6-note). Each believer has the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9-note) in the sense that He is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Jn 3:24; 4:13).

If you are a Christian, God really means for you to have assurance that you are going to inherit the glory of God. You are going to go to heaven when you die, not hell; and you are going be a part of Christ's future kingdom, and live forever in the new heavens and the new earth with unbroken joy and no affliction. The truth of Ro 5:5 is that God gives assurance to us through the Holy Spirit. Paul knows that there is more than one enemy to our assurance. One is the fear that we might be hypocrites. We might be fake Christians, no Christians at all, even though we are religious and belong to the Church. He teaches us here that affliction is God's great proving ground for the genuineness of faith. And he graciously takes us through trials so that our faith will be seen as genuine and we will have hope because we are not hypocrites. But there is another enemy to our assurance. What if the object of our faith is false? Not just our faith, but what we put our faith in. What if we make it through tribulation with proven faith and growing hope, and in the end that hope proves to have been built on sand? We thought God loved us, but it turns out he didn't. He may not even exist. That too is a great obstacle to our assurance. And Paul's answer here to it is not an argument, but an experience. There are arguments, and Paul is willing to use them. But here he simply says, your hope, rooted in the genuineness of your proven faith, will not disappoint you. And you can know this because the Holy Spirit has come into your life and has begun to pour the love of God experientially into your heart. This is not mainly an argument. This is mainly a personal experience of God's love flooding the heart with an immediate sense of God's reality and love.

William Newell - And our state of hope does not make us ashamed: because God's love for us is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Furthermore, then, no matter how much the world or worldly Christians may avoid or deride us, this hopefulness is not "ashamed, " or is not "put to shame": because there is supplied the inward and wonderful miracle of the consciousness of God's love shed abroad in our hearts through that second mighty gift of God to us (Christ Himself being the first), -the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Romans 5)

So this hope will not disappoint us or cause us to be ashamed; i.e., it is not a hope that will deceive us. Nothing confounds more than disappointment. Everlasting shame and confusion will be caused by the perishing of the expectation of the wicked for as Proverbs 10:28 says "The hope of the righteous (of who?) is gladness, but the expectation of the wicked perishes."

We will never think ourselves disparaged (spoken slightingly about) by sufferings that are likely to end so well. Indeed, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.

An earthly illustration of our hope which does not disappoint: about the boy and his father who were planning a fishing trip for the next day. That evening as the father was putting his son to bed, the boy hugged his father's neck and said, "Daddy, thank you for tomorrow."

The Book Of Hope: Writing in Texas Co-Op Power magazine, Donna Chapman described the excitement generated on her family's farm in the 1940s by the arrival of the Montgomery Ward catalog. Often called "the wish book," its pages were filled with images of items ranging from clothing and cook stoves to furniture and tools. The catalog's warm, friendly tone seemed to invite people to picture themselves as they lived, worked, and dressed at the time, and as they hoped to become.

The Bible is not a spiritual mail-order catalog, but in its pages we vividly see ourselves both as we are today and as we hope to be. The Bible certainly is God's book of hope. In Romans 5, Paul said that "we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Ro 5:2), "glory in tribulations" (Ro 5:3), and "rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ro 5:11). Even our present difficulties are an essential part of the process of becoming the people we know God wants us to be. The Bible is far more than a book of wishful thinking; it is a book of well-founded confidence in God's purpose and plan for us as believers. Whatever we are like today, we know that in Christ we have a living hope, and it will not end in disappointment. —D C McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A strong defense to guard the soul
Is ours from heaven above;
God fills our hearts with steadfast hope
And gives us faith and love. —D. De Haan

No one is hopeless whose hope is in God's Word.

BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT: hoti e agape tou theou ekkechutai (3SRPI):

  • Ro 8:14, 15, 16, 17,28; Mt 22:36,37; 1Cor 8:3; Heb 8:10, 11, 12; 1Jn 4:19
  • Romans 5 Resources - Multiples Sermons and Commentaries

Note Paul's transition from faith (Ro 5:1, 2-see notes Ro 5:1; 5:2) to hope (Ro 5:2, 4, 5-see notes Ro 5:2; 5:4; 5:5), to love (Ro 5:5-note).

Because - When you see a conjunction like because, remember that it signifies that the writer is providing the grounds or basis for a previous statement (or group of statements). Pause to ponder it, for example (in the present context) asking what is the pouring out of the Spirit the grounds or basis for?

Love of God could be interpreted as the love God has for us or the love we now have for Him, but in view of the fact that "God demonstrates His own love for us" in verse 8, the love of God most likely refers to His love for us. Furthermore, the proof that our hope will not disappoint us in the end is the fact of the amazing generosity of God’s love for us—a fact which we have been enabled to know and understand by His gift of the Holy Spirit to every believer.

John reminds us that "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1Jn 4:10-11)

Spurgeon writes that "The love of God is like light to a blind eye until the Holy Ghost opens that eye … may the Holy Spirit now be here in each one of us, to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts.

Poured out (1632) (ekcheo from ek = out + chéo = pour) means literally to pour out, and pictures not a trickle, but a lavish outpouring to the point of overflowing. In other words, God’s love is not rationed out drop by drop but is like a mighty endless current!

Three NT uses of ekcheo refer to the Holy Spirit…

Whom (the Holy Spirit) He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (see note Titus 3:6)

And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; (Acts 2:17)

All the circumcised (Jewish) believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:45)

The pouring out in Romans 5:5 is however not of the Holy Spirit but of God's holy love. The pouring out of divine love marks an interesting contrast with John's 9 uses of ekcheo in Revelation 16, all but one referring to a pouring out of God's wrath. So either one repents and believes in Jesus and has God's love poured out extravagantly within his heart or he rebels against and blasphemes Jesus and has God's wrath poured out abundantly!

Paul also used ekcheo one other time in Romans to describe unbelievers whose…

feet are swift to shed (ekcheo) blood (Ro 3:15-note)

Poured out speaks of the inexhaustible abundance of the supply and is reminiscent of the copious provision for the thirsty children of Israel in the wilderness…

"Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth (Lxx = exerchomai) abundantly (Lxx = polus = much), and the congregation and their beasts drank. (Nu 20:11).

God's love flows out in abundance and we experience it in an abundant manner.

Ekcheo is in the perfect tense which conveys the picture that the "pouring out" began at some point of time in the past (at conversion) and the effects, results and benefits of that outpouring continue - they have not been withdrawn. The idea is that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts and still floods them. The fact that the voice is passive supports the interpretation that this is a reference to God's love for us not our love for God.

Philippi rightly observes that "The love of God does not descend upon us as dew in drops, but as a stream which spreads itself abroad through the whole soul, filling it with the consciousness of his presence and favor."

Wuest paraphrase nicely conveys this thought also picking up the essence of ekcheo in the perfect tense "has been poured out in our hearts and still floods them through the agency of the Holy Spirit Who was given to us."

God’s love comes to us as a brimming and overflowing river, in “immeasurable torrents” , in “unstinting lavishness”. His love in our hearts is like a shower of rain soaking parched ground. One of the Holy Spirit's main roles is to "make us deeply and refreshingly aware that God loves us."

Guzik - God's love isn't given to us in a trickle, it is poured out in our hearts. Some Christians live as if it was only a trickle but God wants us to know the outpouring of His love. (Romans 5)

Leon Morris - While the reference is surely to the love God has for us, we should not overlook the truth that the Spirit’s pouring of God’s love into our hearts is a creative act. It kindles love in us, and love “becomes the moral principle by which we live” (Dodd). Poured out points to abundance (cf. Moffatt, “floods our hearts”). ( The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)

In a passage with a parallel thought to Romans 5:5, John records that "on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn 7:37, 38, 39)

The rivers of living water now can flow out of believers because God has poured into them His love by His Spirit.

Sanday adds that "the idea of spiritual refreshment and encouragement is conveyed through the metaphor of watering. (Romans 5 Commentary Critical and Exegetical Commentary)

Notice how the first three aspects of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22, 23-see notes Gal 5:22; 23) are experienced: love (Ro 5:5), joy (Ro 5:2), and peace (Ro 5:1). Before we were saved, God proved His love by sending Christ to die for us. Now that we are His children, surely He will love us much more. It is the inner experience of this love through the Spirit that sustains us as we go through tribulations.

WITHIN OUR HEARTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WAS GIVEN TO US: en tais kardiais hemon dia pneumatos hagiou tou dothentos (APPNSG) hemin:

  • Isa 44:3, 4, 5; Ezek 36:25; 2Cor 1:22; 3:18; 4:6; Gal 4:6; 5:22; Ep 1:13; Ep 3:16, 17, 18, 19; 4:30; Titus 3:5
  • Romans 5 Resources - Multiples Sermons and Commentaries

Within our hearts - The manifestation of God's love is not an external revelation as one might see in His works of providence or even in His act of redemption, but it is diffused within our hearts. The Greek preposition is eis which conveys the primary idea of motion into any place or thing, in this case into the heart, the "control tower" so to speak of the believer's being.

Hearts (2588) (kardia [word study]) as used here and most places in Scripture does not refer to the physical organ but figuratively refers to the seat and center of human life. Even as the heart is the chief organ of physical life, the heart figuratively is the inner spring of the personal life, the seat of the affections. The heart is the wellspring of man’s spiritual life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God.

Vine writes that kardia "came to denote man’s entire mental and moral activities, and to stand figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, and so here signifies the seat of thought and feeling. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )

MacArthur commenting on kardia writes that "While we often relate heart to the emotions (e.g., “He has a broken heart”), the Bible relates it primarily to the intellect (e.g., “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Mt 15:19). That’s why you must “watch over your heart with all diligence” (Pr 4:23). In a secondary way, however, heart relates to the will and emotions because they are influenced by the intellect. If you are committed to something, it will affect your will, which in turn will affect your emotions." (Drawing Near. Crossway Books)

MacArthur adds that "In most modern cultures, the heart is thought of as the seat of emotions and feelings. But most ancients—Hebrews, Greeks, and many others—considered the heart to be the center of knowledge, understanding, thinking, and wisdom. The New Testament also uses it in that way. The heart was considered to be the seat of the mind and will, and it could be taught what the brain could never know. Emotions and feelings were associated with the intestines, or bowels." (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. 1986. Chicago: Moody Press)

Constable writes that in this verse we see "The fourth benefit of justification therefore is the indwelling Holy Spirit. Note the progression in these verses from faith (Ro 5:1) to hope (Ro 5:2, 3, 4, 5) to love (Ro 5:5; cf. 1Cor 13:13).. (Expository Notes on the Bible)

Through the Holy Spirit - This is the first mention of love and the first mention of the Holy Spirit in believers in Romans (cf Ro 1:4-note).

Hodge notes that "this inward assurance that we are the objects of the love of God is not the mere result of the examination of evidence, nor is it a vain delusion, but it is produced by the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Ro 8:16 [note]; 2Co 1:21,22; Ep 1:14 [note]). (Commentary on Romans)

Vine notes that "Each believer received the Holy Spirit when he believed (John 7:39; cp. Acts 5:32 and Ro 8:9-note). Since the believer was then “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6), and lives by the Spirit (Gal 5:25-note), He is his inalienable possession. (Ibid)

Harry Ironside observes that " In Romans 1 (Ro 1:4-note). we read of the Spirit of holiness in connection with Christ's work and resurrection. But we do not read of the Spirit's work in the believer until the soul enters into peace through the apprehension of the finished work of Christ. This is all-important. I am not saved by what goes on within myself. I am saved by what the Lord Jesus did for me. But the Spirit seals me when I believe the gospel (Ep 4:30-note), and by His indwelling (Ro 8:9-note), the love of God is shed abroad within my heart.

Soon as my all I ventured
On the atoning blood,
The Holy Spirit entered,
For I was born of God.

It is a great mistake to rely on my own recognition of the Spirit's work within me as the ground of my assurance. Assurance is by the word of the truth of the gospel. But upon believing, I receive the Spirit (see note Romans 8:9). John gave corroborative evidence of Romans 5:5 "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1Jn 3:14). (Romans Commentary)

The Holy Spirit (Click for nice summary) is the mysterious third Person of the Trinity through Whom God acts, reveals His will, empowers individuals, and discloses His personal presence in the Old and New Testament. The Holman Bible Dictionary writes that…

Of the eighty-seven times that the Spirit is described as wind, thirty-seven describe the wind as the agent of God, mostly baneful, and ever strong and intense. This property of the Spirit clearly reflects the power of God… Luke has many more references to the Holy Spirit than do the other synoptic accounts. This can be accounted for by Luke's theological interests which are extended in the Acts of the Apostles, which has been rightly named “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” because of the prominence given to the Spirit… All apostolic writers witnessed to the reality of the Spirit in the church; however, the apostle Paul, who wrote more than any other author, offers the most theological reflection on the subject. The main chapters to consult are Romans 8; 1Corinthians 2; 1Corinthians 12-14; 2Corinthians 3; and Galatians 5. Johannine theology is rich in its doctrine of the Spirit. In the Gospel of John, the Spirit possesses Christ (John 1:32, 33); is indicative of the new birth (John 3:1-16); will come upon Jesus' departure (John 16:7, 8, 9, 10, 11); and will endow the believer after the resurrection (John 20:22). The Christian community is anointed by the Spirit (1John 2:20); and the Spirit assures the believer of the indwelling presence of Jesus (1John 3:24). In the prophetic Book of Revelation, John, in Old Testament fashion, depicted himself as a prophet inspired by the Spirit. (Ref)

John Piper writes that "The Holy Spirit is not a mood-altering drug. He is an Illuminator of the glory of God's love in the work of Christ. He is a heart-eye opener to the ravishing reality that in the death of Christ for us, God loved us infinitely. (Romans 5:3-8)

Was given (1325) (didomi) means to give based on decision of the will of the giver with no merit of recipient.

This giving of the Spirit does not refer to the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost in the sense that at that time He came to form the Church, but to the act of the Spirit at the time of the conversion of every believer, at which time He takes up His permanent abode in the believer's inner being.

It is interesting though that Luke used the same verb ekcheo in describing the event at Pentecost, Peter declaring…

"Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." (Acts 2:33)

Note that this outpouring by the Holy Spirit fulfills God's promise to Israel in captivity in Ezekiel's day, the prophet recording God's declaration that…

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." (Ezekiel 36:26, 27, cf Ezek 18:31)

Calvin adds that "given" means that this love was

bestowed through the gratuitous goodness of God, and not conferred for our merits (Romans 5)

Paul records the following verses dealing with the gift of the Spirit…

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2Cor 1:21-22)

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Gal 4:6)

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ep 1:13, 14-note)

Note that every believer has the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:9-note), but not every believer lives in the fullness of the Spirit (Ep 5:18-note), and not every believer walks in the Spirit (Ro 8:4, 5-see notes Ro 8:4; 8:5).

The Spirit within sheds God’s love to us and through us. God revealed His love at the Cross when Christ died for those who were “helpless,” “ungodly,” “sinners,” and “enemies,” thus proving His great love. Paul’s argument is that if God did all that for us while we were His enemies, how much more will He do for us now that we are His children! We are saved by Christ’s death (Ro 5:9), but we are also saved by His life (Ro 5:10) as “the power of His resurrection” (Php 3:10-note, Ro 1:4-note) operates in our lives. We have received “reconciliation” (Ro 5:11), and now the love of God is experienced in our lives.

Harry Ironside (Romans 5 Commentary - Bolding added) observes that…

This is the first mention of the Spirit's work in the believer. In Romans 1 we read of the Spirit of holiness in connection with Christ's work and resurrection. But we do not read of the Spirit's work in the believer until the soul enters into peace through the apprehension of the finished work of Christ. This is all-important. I am not saved by what goes on within myself. I am saved by what the Lord Jesus did for me. But the Spirit seals me when I believe the gospel, and by His indwelling, the love of God is shed abroad within my heart.

Soon as my all I ventured
On the atoning blood,
The Holy Spirit entered,
For I was born of God.

It is a great mistake to rely on my own recognition of the Spirit's work within me as the ground of my assurance. Assurance is by the word of the truth of the gospel. But upon believing, I receive the Spirit (see Romans 8). John gave corroborative evidence of Romans 5:5:

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1John 3:14 ).

G Campbell Morgan remarks that the words in this verse "lead us a step further in our understanding of the nature of Chris­tian hope. Not only is it true that it triumphs because it knows and believes God. It is also true that it is not put to shame. That is, it is never overthrown or discredited in any way by the circum­stances of tribulation through which we must pass in order to its realization. On the contrary, we rejoice in these very tribulations because we realize that they are parts of the working force which is ever operating toward the realization. The secret of this victorious hope is that the love of God hath been poured out in our hearts. Here the idea is not merely that God loves us, though necessarily that is involved. It is rather that He fills us with His love by the Spirit, so that we love what He loves, and as He loves. That self-emptying sacrificial love becomes the inspiration of all our thinking, of all our doing. And it is more than that. It is the power of all our service. It is not only patient love which endures; it is mighty love which accomplishes. It is the secret of that abounding toil which never tires until its object is achieved. Where there is such love filling and mastering the life, hope is never put to shame in the processes of tribulation, and it will be ultimately saved from shame as all the toils are vindicated in the glory of the results. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)

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